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Tactic 2 Treat Existing Customers like Existing Customers

  • By Bryan Archer (CTO)
Bryan Archer (CTO)

Every customer deserves a good experience.

In a previous post, we walked through a scenario which went a little bit like this…

A man enters the local bicycle shop with the hope of buying a road bike. After spending some time with a Sales rep called Winston, he decides on the bike he wants and makes the purchase. The very next day, the man returns to the store to buy accessories for his brand new bike but, much to his surprise, Winston doesn’t seem to recognise him. Rather than directing the man to the road bike accessories, Winston tells him all about the deals they have available on their BMX range. Needless to say, the man isn’t best pleased by the whole experience, and leaves without making any further purchases.

Here’s the thing…

Your website is just like Winston. Think about it: Every customer that passes through your website receives exactly the same homepage banners with exactly the same offers, promotions and discounts, even if they purchased your product/service at full price last week. Just like Winston, your website is completely ignoring every previous customer interaction, and that’s frustrating for everyone. 


Tactic #2. Treat Existing Customers like Existing Customers!


Your website has a far better memory than any human could ever have, and it’s able to pick up the conversation from wherever it was left, even with thousands of customers passing through the site every second! Despite this, the chances are that your website probably doesn’t properly cater for existing customers, and focuses heavily on new customer acquisition instead…even though it’s far easier to up-sell and re-sell to existing customers.

But how can we possibly cater for both new and existing customers? Well, personalisation is a pretty good option!...

Start by looking at the reasons your existing customers are returning to your website. Then think about an appropriate way to streamline access to the item they’re likely to be interested in. Doing so could help increase profitability by increasing sales and/or reducing costs!

For example, if a lot of existing customers return to the website to download an instruction manual for the item(s) they recently purchased, you could use personalisation to direct them to the relevant page, which could reduce the number of support calls and customer service inquiries. 

Maybe a lot of customers return to look for add-on items for the product/service they recently purchased. In that case, personalisation could be used to direct the customer to the relevant page directly from the homepage, increasing the likeliness of increased sales.

No personalisation? Tread Carefully! 

“New customer only” deals are great for new customers! They also have an unrivalled ability to upset existing customers. That's one of the primary reasons for the lack of customer loyalty in certain industries like insurance, banking and utilities...We all remember this comical character from the nationwide television commercials. Sadly the main reason we remember him is because we've all been stung with similar experiences in the past. 



If your organisation does offer "New Customer Only” deals, think about using personalisation to replace the promotional banner with something else for existing customers. If you’re stuck for ideas, a social sharing widget would surely be better than a “new customer only” banner…and it might lead to a few endorsements from loyal customers!

Realistically, there are many different ways we can use personalisation to start treating existing customers like existing customers…we just need to implement them!

Working out who is an existing customer in Sitecore…

There are a number of ways to separate new from existing customers in Sitecore:

  1. If you send email campaigns using a 3rd party mailer, you can use the “SC_camp” tag as the identifier, and if you use Sitecore’s Email Experience Manager, it’ll add the relevant tags for you.
  2. If the customer makes a purchase through your website (or if they complete a specific form on your website) you can use the conversion goal as a trigger for personalisation.
  3. If Sitecore is hooked into your CRM, you can use the “customer status” field to determine if they’re an existing customer or not.
  4. Track the user’s site behaviour. For example, there is a good chance that if they’re looking for instruction manuals, they’re already a customer. 

Coming Up Next

Our next post in this mini-series will focus on connecting and re-targeting inbound experiences!

Need help getting started?

If you aren’t familiar with how to implement the methods described above, it’s probably best to get in touch and let us guide you through the process. We would be very happy to help. 


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